Back to familiar fishing grounds
After spending some time south of the border, it was nice to get back home to my home water, the Truckee River. Typically, the dry fly fishing from about mid-June into early July is outstanding on the Truckee.
When I returned from vacation around the second week of June, the fishing was just beginning to pick up. I began looking for the green drake mayfly, a hatch that usually brings large fish to the surface to feed.
While I saw a few green drakes this year, I never seemed to have caught them in any numbers. I did, however, manage to catch some very nice fish using drakes. My favorite pattern has been the Lawson paradrake, but this year I did substantially better with the Quigley Cripple green drake pattern. I landed several nice fish using this pattern, even though very few drakes were observed.
About the time I thought the drakes would finally get started, the water level began to rise on the river through Truckee as the flow from Lake Tahoe was increased. This seemed to put the brakes on any kind of a green drake hatch. As a result, we saw more PMD mayflies, craneflies and tons of caddisflies.
We found that the PMD and caddis dries would produce well during this period. Parachute or cripple style PMD dries and Cutter’s EC caddis were the best at imitating these insects. The flows from Tahoe City continued to be ramped up each week over the last three now.
The river is moving pretty well and everyone should exercise some great care while wading in the Truckee when it is flowing well. A good pair of wading shoe with felt soles and metal cleats is a good choice when fishing the river at this level. A wading staff is also not a bad idea.
It is certainly easy to lose your balance in a fast-flowing stream. The other night I filled my waders with water when I took a spill. The combination of a big rock that I backed up against and a strong current caused me to go down. It made for a cold evening when I got back to the car. There is no more uncomfortable feeling than having your wet clothes sticking to you! I was happy to get to a warm shower that evening.
During the Fourth of July, my daughter and her boyfriend came up for a visit and they wanted to go out fly fishing with me. We had a great time fishing both the Little Truckee and Truckee rivers.
As we get into early July, we are now seeing the emergence of the Little Yellow Stonefly. Each evening I go out to the river, I seem to see more of these mixed in with the blizzard of caddis. The Little Yellow Stonefly is another hatch that seems to get the big fish in the Truckee working on them.
This is why the period of time between mid-June and mid-July is my favorite time to fish the Truckee River. I guess I am turning into a dry fly snob. I will still nymph and streamer fish, but my favorite time is when I can catch fish on dry flies!
Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident and regular fishing columnist for the Sierra Sun and other area newspapers.